FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Atlanta Falcons announced Monday that they have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive tackle Grady Jarrett.
Although the tag prevents Jarrett from becoming a free agent and keeps him with the Falcons for the 2019 season, general manager Thomas Dimitroff says it was only applied so that conversations on a longer extension can continue.
"As we have said since the end of the season, getting a deal done with Grady is our priority," Dimitroff said. "Applying the franchise tag to him does not change that in any way. Our aim is for Grady to be an integral part of our plan for many years to come and this allows us to extend our negotiating window."
Jarrett, a fifth-round draft pick for the Falcons in the 2015 NFL Draft, has quickly become one of the top penetrating defensive tackles in the league. And he's only trended upwards in that time.
After a breakout Super Bowl performance in which he sacked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady three times, Jarrett, 25, has earned a combined 10 sacks over the past two seasons, including a career-best six in 2018.
Jarrett has also proven to be an asset against the run for the Falcons, recording 179 tackles, 31 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles in his four NFL seasons.
In addition to what he brings on the field, Jarrett is a leader both in the locker room and in the community.
Prior to the 2018 season, Jarrett was at the forefront of the Falcons' social justice initiative and partnered with organizations such as the At Promise Center and the Thomasville Heights Boys & Girls Club to promote anti-bullying and speaking up about past experiences. That work and past community campaigns led to the Falcons nominating Jarrett for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2018.
Dimitroff declared at the start of this offseason that agreeing to an extension with Jarrett was among the top priorities for the organization. By using the franchise tag on Jarrett, the Falcons can now continue to work on achieving that goal.